Small children may be at risk for ‘secondary drowning’

Secondary drowning can occur hours after someone has left the pool.

Secondary drowning can occur hours after someone has left the pool.

The vast majority of parents are aware that water can pose a danger to small children or those with weak swimming skills. What they may not be aware of is that the risk of drowning doesn't necessarily end once they are away from the pool and out of their Dolfin Uglies swimwear. "Dry drowning" or "secondary drowning" is a rare but extremely dangerous condition that parents need to be on the lookout for. 

In recent weeks, awareness about secondary drowning has been raised due to blog post that went viral. On her "Delighted Momma" blog, Lindsay Kujawa wrote about an incident in which her two-year-old son Ronin fell into a whirlpool. She quickly pulled the boy out of the water, and after a few seconds of crying Ronin seemed to be fine. 

An hour later, however, the toddler seemed lethargic and wasn't acting like himself. 

"You know what your child is like when he's tired and this was totally different," Kujawa wrote. "This was beyond tired and I just felt he wasn't right. Even when Ronin is tired, he's cranky. But he didn't have a lot of emotion."

After Ronin began to cough, his mother rushed him to the emergency room, where doctors discovered that the boy had fluid in his lungs. In the few seconds that Ronin spent in the water, he had inhaled enough liquid to put himself in danger. If he hadn't been treated, the toddler may have had to deal with more severe respiratory problems. 

Doctors recommend that parents keep an eye on children who have fallen into a body of water or have had a near drowning incident for 24 hours after the event.